In an American TV interview, the Saudi crown prince called Iran’s supreme leader “the new Hitler” and warned of a Middle East nuclear arms race if Iranian ambitions aren’t checked.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
In his first interview on American television, Crown Prince Muhammed ibn Salman told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Iran might be the first to get a nuclear bomb, but Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be far behind.
In a preview of the program, which will air Sunday night, the prince told host Norah O’Donnell why he has called Iranian leader Ayatollah Khameinei, “the new Hitler” of the Middle East.
“Because he wants to expand,” the prince explained. “He wants to create his own project in the Middle East very much like Hitler who wanted to expand at the time. Many countries around the world and in Europe did not realize how dangerous Hitler was until what happened, happened. I don’t want to see the same events happening in the Middle East.”
When asked if Saudi Arabia needed nuclear weapons to counter Iran, he answered calmly, “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”
The 32-year-old heir to the throne, who is also the kingdom’s deputy prime minister and defense minister, has recently made several moves to reduce his country’s economic dependence on oil. This includes a national policy for nuclear power, which was approved on Tuesday by the Saudi cabinet.
The state news agency SPA says the policy includes limiting all nuclear activities to peaceful purposes, within the limits defined by international treaties. The kingdom has already put forth a tender to build the first two nuclear reactors in its history, a project which is currently in the bidding stage.
However, the same technology used to enrich uranium for civilian reactors can also be used to enrich it to the higher levels needed to make nuclear weapons. This is what Iran was doing –- and may still be doing in its unsupervised military facilities — until a nuclear deal was reached in 2015 with Western powers.
According to the BBC, however, there were rumors already in 2013 that Saudi Arabia had bought nuclear bombs from Pakistan in response to Iran’s determined efforts in the field, which are waiting to be delivered when called for by the kingdom. It added that an intelligence report on the matter also said that the Saudis also had the means of delivering such weapons, as they had appropriate Chinese-made missiles with a range of over 2,500 kilometers.